What would happen if you stopped sleeping? Discover the astonishing consequences of sleep deprivation and the vital role sleep plays in our lives. Explore the effects of prolonged sleeplessness on cognition, physical health, and mental well-being. Let’s delve into the physical, cognitive, and psychological effects of prolonged wakefulness.
Sleep is an essential part of our lives. It provides rest and rejuvenation for our bodies and minds. Have you ever wondered what would occur if you were deprived of sleep altogether? From cognitive decline and impaired immune function to heightened risks of chronic conditions, the effects of chronic sleeplessness are far-reaching and profound.
Randy Gardner Sleep Deprivation
Before we dive into the symptoms that occur when a person doesn’t sleep, we are going to detail a story of a man who underwent real prolonged sleep deprivation.
In 1964, a high school student named Randy Gardner and his two friends decided they were going to try to break the Guinness World Record for the longest time without sleep; said to be part of a science fair project.
Gardner was 17 years old and he stayed awake for 246 hours, approximately 11 days. Throughout the experiment, he was monitored by medical professionals to assess the effects of sleep deprivation and how they affected his mental and physical well-being.
With time, Gardner experienced many different symptoms of sleep deprivation. At first, he exhibited increased energy, alertness, and even enthusiasm. But as the experiment progressed, he started to experience significant cognitive and behavioral changes. These included:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory lapses
- Trouble with simple tasks
- Erratic behavior
At the end of the experiment, Gardner said he experienced hallucinations; vivid visual and auditory distortions. He started to have difficulty differentiating between reality and his hallucinations.
After the 11-day experiment, Gardner slept for about 14 hours straight to resolve the prolonged sleep deprivation. Luckily for Gardner, he didn’t suffer long-term negative effects from sleep deprivation.
This experiment was one that brought awareness to the importance of sleep. In Gardner’s instance, he was allowed to sleep after he could no longer stay awake. This would of course be different for someone who simply cannot fall asleep and continuously undergoes sleep deprivation.
So what would happen to a person if they never slept?
Now we will delve into the more specific symptoms that would arise from prolonged sleep deprivation. These include:
- Cognitive decline
- Weakened immune system
- Physical health issues
- Emotional instability
- Impaired motor skills and increased accident risk
- Hallucinations and psychosis
- Increased risk of chronic conditions
Sleep is very important for the support of cognitive functions. When you sleep, the brain engages in important processes that consolidate and enhance memory, learning, and overall cognitive performance. Memory consolidation helps to strengthen new information and long-term memories. This is what helps us to learn and improve our ability to recall and retain information.
The most important thing to understand in the area of cognitive functions such as attention, concentration, problem-solving, and decision-making can become impaired without sufficient sleep. The daily choices you would make for your own health would be compromised without sleep.
Weakened immune system
We know that the immune system is what keeps us safe from parabens and infections that would cause damage to the body. Well, sleep helps to maintain the structure of the immune system. When we sleep, the body undergoes various restorative processes. This includes the production and release of cytokines, a protein that helps to maintain immune system homeostasis and supports overall immune function.
Without sleep, the immune system is impaired, leading to a higher risk of disease and illness.
Physical health issues
Without sleep, physical health issues can occur. Chronic sleep has been linked to many physical health problems including the risk of:
- Cardiovascular diseases
The hormones that are involved in appetite control can be disrupted due to sleep deprivation which can lead to unhealthy eating patterns and weight gain.
Emotions are regulated during the sleep stage, REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. When we sleep, the brain undergoes a complex series of neural processes that can influence emotions. Emotional reactivation and reorganization of emotional memories occur during this process.
It has been said that those who get sufficient REM sleep tend to have better emotional regulation and resilience. Whereas those that do not can have emotional dysregulation, increased emotional reactivity, and difficulty managing stress.
Impaired motor skills and increased accident risk
A lack of sleep affects your motor coordination, reaction times, and judgment. This can lead to an increased risk of accidents, injuries, and impaired performance. For example, a common occurrence, driving drowsy. Drowsy driving actually accounts for around “100,000 crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities…”
Hallucinations and psychosis
Prolonged sleep can induce hallucinations, distorted perception, and in severe cases, even psychosis. This is of course what happened to Randy Gardner in the experiment we detailed above. If the brain cannot rest and rejuvenate, altered states of consciousness can occur.
Increased risk of chronic conditions
Stress, weight gain, and the immune system, all are impacted negatively when sufficient sleep isn’t had. All of these can lead to an increased risk of chronic conditions. These chronic conditions include:
- Heart disease
- Certain types of cancer
Reduce your risk of chronic conditions by getting enough sleep each night. If you struggle to do so, consider a safe and effective sleep supplement like Relaxium Sleep. Relaxium Sleep is a sleep supplement designed to help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and have you waking up feeling more refreshed and alert.
Long story short, just make sure to get enough sleep!
Sleep deprivation is useful to no one, in fact, it is entirely damaging. Allow your body to rest and recover as it needs from the day before it.
Relaxium offers a number of safe and effective supplements that aid in the categories of sleep, calm, focus, and immunity. Created by Clinical Neurologist, Dr. Eric Ciliberti, TryRelaxium.com offers a 30-day Money Back Guarantee trial of Relaxium Sleep to allow our users to truly experience its effects. To try the product today visit our website for more information.
To restful and healthy days ahead.
The Relaxium Team
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.